120 gallon high-tech SCA Starphire build (now running!)
I was finally contacted by the freight company who confirmed delivery of my new 120 gallon starphire aquarium from SCA for next Tuesday, so I figured Iíd start my build thread!
Iíve been stockpiling equipment and scaping materials for the better part of a year and probably have 2-3xís as much stuff as I actually need. Iíd like to start off the journal with a list of equipment, but Iím still not sure what kind of plants Iím going to put in this tank and Iíve got more lighting and co2 options than I can remember, so Iíll begin with a list of equipment I know I am going to use:
Tank- sca 120 gal starphire with center overflow 4x2x2
Stand- ďAmerican GreyĒ hardwood 36Ē
Canopy- ďAmerican GreyĒ hardwood 10Ē
Filter(s)- fluval fx6 filled with seachem matrix, fluval 306 for carbon/chemical filtration (and to run co2 reactor if I go that route)
UV sterilizer- 36w in line pond sterilizer (just started running a uvs on a smaller tank and am now a convert)
Lighting- 2 48Ē Reefbar Pro LEDs in 6500k with sunsetters, 4x54 oddysea t5 with built in timer- will run 2 bluemax 5900k 96 cri bulbs, one pro series bloom by Agromax (heavy red blend of 630nm and 660nm) and either a pure par pro series bulb (mix of red and blue), or a 10000k blue veg pro series. I also have an option to scrap the t5ís all together and go with 4 60cm chihiros rgbís with the reefbar pros (like I said I spent way too much time amassing equipment for this build)
Heater- ebo-Jager 300w with independent controller (or reef link if I set that up).
Flow/co2- ice cap 3k gyre (prolly around 20%) if I go with slower growing plants, the plan is to use an aquario neo diffuser under the gyre as opposed to a reactor for co2 diffusion. With lower light and slower growing plants (anubias, buces, lagenandra, ferns, etc) I think the ceramic diffuser under the gyre should be sufficient. Iím going to try something a little different with this tank by letting the co2 run 24/7. The reduction in co2 at night will come from the ramping down or turning off of the gyre, which should allow more co2 to gas off. I know this is a little wasteful, but I want to see if it will result in a more stable ph throughout the 24 hour day. I do have a reeflink controller I can use to run the co2, but My goal is to limit the equipment needed for this tank so I do not have to worry about maintaining probes or having to recalibrate/replace them. If I go with faster growing plants, Iíll bite the bullet and plumb in a reactor.
Hardscape materials: 6 large bags of marfied Black og controsoil, about 100 lbs of black lava rock in a variety of sizes from about 2Ē all that way up to 18Ē (big shot out to Matt at Buceplant.com for hooking me up with what was probably the last 6 bags of commercially available controsoil in the country and some dank lava rock! These guys really went out of their way to get me the materials I wanted for this scape.). Also have a 45gal garbage can filled to the brim with ghostwood and manzanita branches that have been soaking for the last three weeks and are ready to go. I did not want my scape to be determined by what I donít have enough of, so I got way too much of everything. Will use leftover material to rescape other tanks or just sell it off.
My plan is to go with a concave style layout using the lava rock to build to big walls extending out from the rear corners. These areas will be backfilled with lava rock rubble and controsoil with some lotus/Lillies along with some other partially emerging bog plants (maybe mosaic ludwigia?) to give the impression of a shoreline. This was a popular composition with takashi amano later in his career and I really like the different zones it creates for different kinds of plants, especially when driftwood is used to simulate roots protruding from the bank. Depending on how much controsoil I have left, I may Carpet the lower section in the middle and front sides of the tank with a mix of Monte Carlo, hydrocoytle, and DHG Belem, all of which I have currently growing in other tanks I can steal from. Depending on how much light and co2 I go with, I may just stick to Colorado sand with some accents along the base of the wall and keep the growth limited to the wood, stone, and areas behind the wall. More to come on that.
Livestock- while I am going to scape this tank fairly aggressively, this will be a fish tank first and foremost, so my plant choices will largely be based on creating a natural and aesthetically pleasing back drop for the fish I plan on stocking. Hereís the plan as of today (subject to availability in the next 2-3 months)
20-25- hyphessobrycon margitae or bleeding blue tetras (alternative is hyphessobrycon peruvianus, or blue loreto tetra)
20-25- hemigrammus rubrostriatus or red stripe tetras (alternative is hemigrammus coerelus or hyphessobrycon amapaenis)
25-35- cardinal tetras (no alternative for these guys)
I currently have 5 stictus tetras in another tank that will most likely end up in here as well.
Depending on availability, I may also go with 10-15 h. Melanistichos, h. Hexastichos, h. Wadai, or lapis tetras (alternative will be Kerri tetras or emperors). At $17 to $20 a piece itís a big if at this point.
The stock list will be rounded out with 60 amano shrimp, 50 or so Rcs, a nice group of cories, hatchets, and pencils and a pair or harem of dwarf cichlids. I may deviate from the South American theme to go with some scarlet badis or dwarf gouramis, but weíll see.
Thatís it for now, but Iíll try to get some equipment and scape material photos added over the weekend, and will definitely be recording the build so Iíll be posting a link to those videos as theyíre made. A large hi tec aquascape with uncommon tetras has been a long term dream of mine, so Iím really excited about this and hope youíll follow along on what should be a fun and exciting build!
Last edited by AdamRT; 08-23-2018 at 11:27 AM.